I remember a time when I thought I would forever be a fur-mama. With no intent to have children, I was content with my two cats and the level of care they required.
At some point, however, there was a tiny human on its way.
I had received a lot of unsolicited advice as to how to handle the baby and pet situation – which was mostly “get rid of them”.
Yeah, no, I wasn’t about to turf my kitties.
Of course, it is normal (and wise) to be concerned about how the two are going to mix. Chances are that everything will work out quite well and your pet and child will eventually develop a close and beautiful bond.
However, it is always best to be prepared. Here’s how to get ready to create harmony between your pets and your newborn child:
Teach Your Dog to Stay Out of the Nursery
Start right away by putting up a baby gate or keep the door to the baby’s room closed. This will help your dog learn to stay out of the nursery.
Later on, you can allow your dog in the room while you are in there as well.
However, it’s best to prepare your dog to stay away.
Introduce Your Dog to Other Babies
If you have friends or family with a newborn baby, ask if they can come for a visit. This way, you can expose your dog to a baby in a controlled and temporary situation.
Your dog is less likely to be anxious around your newborn baby if he or she has experience with other babies.
Invest in Some Obedience Training for Your Dog
A baby’s behavior is not predictable so you have to make sure your dog can promptly follow commands.
If your dog is not one for obeying you, now is the time to take your dog to obedience classes before the baby arrives.
Also consider having your male dog neutered if he hasn’t been already – this usually makes the dog calmer and more well-mannered.
Keep Your Cat Out of the Crib
Then, there’s the cat.
Some of the same ideas for dogs may work for cats but training them to stay out of a room (or do anything, really) is pretty difficult.
They scale baby gates and hop into cribs with ease.
In addition to a baby gate, which may be enough to deter them (but probably not), it’s wise to purchase a net to go over the crib to keep kitty out.
These products actually exist and can easily be purchased online.
Don’t Bed-Share With Kitty and Baby
If your cat sleeps with you in bed at night, don’t put your baby in your bed with the cat in the room.
At least, until you know how your cat is going to react to your child. I personally did allow my cats in my room with my baby and I once they became comfortable having a baby in the house.
You know your cat better than anyone but don’t ignore the fact that a cat’s attitude and level of tolerance can change on a dime. It’s best to err on the side of caution and take these types of precautions.
Keep the Food and Water Bowls Away from the Baby
For both types of pets, keep the food and water bowl away from the baby.
Babies love to play in water and, not only will this make a mess, but can cause jealousy with your animal.
Also, at some point, your child will try to eat the pet food. Guaranteed.
The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship
Your child and your pets should develop a good relationship with little trouble.
Just remember to be diligent for a while until everyone is comfortable – and you should continue to have a happy home!
How do your pets and children get along? Let us know in the comments!